Field of Science

Bugs are on my bush! Or not.

Bugs are on my bush!  And I've never seen them before!  Ah, an alarming observation, so naturally you call your local neighborhood botanist. Here they are.  Are the related to ladybugs? I'm sure they've never been there before.  Now before even going for a look, TPP had explained that "bugs"
are not his forte, but in this case not to worry.  One part of this is correct. This person had probably not ever seen these on their bush before, either because they just never noticed these pretty small but rather attractive structures or because their plant finally got mature enough and reached a reproductive age.  By now you've probably figured out both the plant and the true nature of the "bugs".  Yes?  This is actually a bit tricky from just seeing a bit of the leafy twigs, but this is the genus Chamaecyparis, a so-called "false cypress".  These are pollen cones, rather colorful ones, and they don't last long.  Once the pollen is dumped the cones, which are only 4-5 mm long are quickly shed.  This would have been funner if only they had called their friendly, local entomologist first.  That would have been amusing.

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